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Reviews 487© 1997 by University ofHawai'i Press Spirits ofChinese Religion"—meant literally—I would rather have seen as "The Spirit ofChinese Religion," for nowhere is Chinese religion per se introduced. In essence, the Introduction, which is crucial for an anthology ofthis sort, is an interesting mélange of scholarly digressions but does not seem actually to have been written for the volume it introduces. This is always a potential problem when the introduction to an anthology is written by someone other than the editor. Religions ofChina in Practiceis excellent for a graduate course on Chinese religion but may be found less than suitable for an undergraduate course. Assuming such a course would utilize one ofthe (unfortunately) very few good introductory texts on Chinese religion, it would be very difficult for an instructor, unless very familiar with the study ofChinese religion, to coordinate this anthologywith one ofthese introductory texts. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of a real introduction. Jordan Paper York University Jordan Paper is an associateprofessor in the EastAsian and Religious Studies Programs at York University. IiE Kam Louie and Louise Edwards, editors and translators. Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Met. Armonk, New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1995. 223 pp. Hardcover $65.00, isbn 1-56324-680-5. Paperback $24.95, isbn 1-56324-681-3. In Censored by Confucius: Ghost Stories by Yuan Mei, Kam Louie, professor of Chinese at the University of Queensland, and Louise Edwards, lecturer in Asian Studies at Australian Catholic University, present an abridged English translation ofan eighteenth-century Qing anthology ofghost stories, Zi bu yu -f^ap (Censored by Confucius) (17881), authored by Yuan Mei jÊtfe (1716-1798), one ofthe more respected poet-scholars ofhis age. In their Introduction, Louie and Edwards admirably recount the essentials ofYuan Mei's life, his contributions to the genre of biji xiaoshuo itgo^lA, or "note-form literature,"2 and the main themes developed in Zi bu yu. However, throughout the Introduction, Louie and Edwards repeatedly suggest that Yuan Mei's "tales of ghosts, sex, betrayal, revenge, litigation, transvestism, homosexuality, and corruption" sharply contrasted with the "climate ofpolitical and moral conservativism fostered by stifling Confucian ortho- China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 doxy." They suggest that through these tales about the supernatural, Yuan Mei expressed his scorn for "the prudery and moralism propagated by the court and orthodox Confucian scholars ofhis time, choosing instead to expose the hypocrisy and excessive puritanism as the real problems of mid-Qing society."3 Louie and Edwards further claim that Yuan's "challenge to court orthodoxy" is "reflected in the three-word title that he chose for the collection," Zi bu yu, a seemingly irreverent allusion to a characterization, made in the Analects (Lunyu IESd), of Confucius' teachings. Passage 7/21 ofthat text claims that "Confucius [literally, "The Master," Zi -f] did not discourse [bu yu ^In] on prodigies [guai S], force [it TJ], disorder [luan %[], and spiritual forces [shen ?F]."4 Louie and Edwards note that the latter remark has been translated in various ways, yet each of the translations they cite renders the three words used in Yuan Mei's title, Zi bu yu, in ways other than "censored by Confucius," the translation that their rendition ofYuan's tide suggests is appropriate. As Louie and Edwards acknowledge, Legge renders the three words as "the Master did not talk,"5 Lau translates them as "the Master did not speak,"6 and Waley casts them as "the Master never talked . . . ."7 While it seems that the most that one can credibly wring from these words is a theoretical reticence or perhaps a philosophical unwillingness to discuss matters such as guai, li, luan, and shen, Louie and Edwards, by stating that Qing policy was "Confucian-inspired," imply that Confucius' position defined that of the Qing regime, and that it therefore must have deemed such discussions "anathema."8 Recent studies of Confucius' thought that are more sympathetic to its empiricism offer a different "reading" of Analects 7/21. For example, in Thinking Through Confucius, David Hall and Roger Ames consider the meaning of 7/21 as well as Analects 11/12, where Confucius, upon being...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 487-494
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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